The Big Design Goals for My Garden

This is What I Want to Create

January is the perfect time to walk around my garden and take a look at photos from last year to figure out what’s working and what needs to change.  I’ve started doing just that and I’ve come up with a short list of things to improve this year. I’m curious if you want to do any of these things in your garden too.

View looking south in backyard garden Spring 2019.

Create More Privacy

Hindsight is always 20-20. It wasn’t until I saw the photograph above, looking south in the backyard garden, that I realized I should have planted one more ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud tree along the fence line. When I look at this photo, all I see is my neighbor’s house. I love my neighbor, but I don’t want to see that house. I’m hoping for something more like the Secret Garden described in the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

 This year I’d like to plant a small tree or another arborvitae to screen the view. Last Fall, I planted a small Magnolia tree just on the other side of the ‘Snowball’ viburnum.  I need to consider the size of that magnolia when it is full-grown and figure out what to plant in the space between the magnolia and redbud.

Path leading to back entrance under the ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud trees.

Plant a Woodland Border

The photograph above shows the path that runs under the redbud trees. Now that the trees have grown, it’s getting hard to maintain the turf path underneath. We have plans to replace the grass with a paved path. That’s one of my 2020 Garden Resolutions.

When the redbud trees were little, the garden border was sunny. This area is shady now and it’s time to plant more shade-loving varieties.

I’m still collecting ideas for this garden, but I’m thinking of a Woodland border filled with hostas, primroses, and hellebores. Keep an eye on this space. I’ll be sharing the planting plans and details once the design is finalized.

Wayside Shrine made from old barn wood with a statue of St. Francis of Assisi.

Creating Peaceful Vignettes

My garden is a refuge. It’s a quiet, peaceful space where I go to spend time recharging my batteries. I never fully appreciated how much peace my garden provides until I was diagnosed with breast cancer this past August 2019. As soon as I got the news that I had invasive lobular carcinoma, I knew my garden was going to be an important part of my healing process. And it was.

I had surgery and completed 4 weeks of radiation therapy. I didn’t require chemotherapy. I was lucky. My cancer was found early. The time I spent outside in the garden, watching our little critters and tending to the flowers, really helped me maintain a positive outlook.

I want to continue to create peaceful vignettes in the garden like this tiny Wayside shrine I built from old barn wood. This is one of my favorite additions to my garden because it helps me stop and appreciate the amazing world around me every time I look at it.

Flowering Rose of Sharon standards along the side of the garden.

Focus on the Less Seen Parts of the Garden

I’ve been guilty of letting the less seen areas of the garden take a back seat, but I think this is a mistake. Great design is in the details and this season I want to focus on the less-seen parts of my garden like the side entrance. 

The side entrance is the first thing people see when they enter your space. You don’t want it piled up with unused tools, trash, and clutter. If you’re like me, you’re always looking for more space to plant flowers. Why not plant up the side garden?

I redesigned our south side entrance a few years back and I’m happy with the results. I added three standard rose of Sharon plants along the fence line to create a more secluded entrance. There’s an arbor leading into the main garden and it’s my version of an entrance to a secret garden.

This season is time to repeat that exercise on the north side of the house.  I’ll be sharing photographs and planting plans as the project gets underway. 

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